London

London's new tool to help victims of human trafficking

London police have launched a new web portal to coordinate supports for victims of human trafficking. It's called the Human Trafficking Community Services Support Portal.

The new web portal is designed to offer agencies a coordinated response to human trafficking

London police have launched a new web portal to coordinate supports for victims of human trafficking. It's called the Human Trafficking Community Services Support Portal. (Representational Image)

London police and other local agencies have established a new way to help victims of human trafficking. 

A web portal was launched Monday to ensure a coordinated response to a victim's needs such as health care, mental health support or housing. It's called the Human Trafficking Community Services Support Portal. 

It was launched by the London Police Service.

How it works 

Staff Sgt. David Poustie said there are two main elements to the portal that will only be accessible to agencies working with victims.

One is called a "care path" and it involves a list of 22 questions that can be used to help triage or assess a victim's needs. 

The second key element is a directory of services including the 13 agencies currently registered with the portal. 

"What the tool will do is see what supports are available in the community," said Poustie. 

About 30 organizations provided input on what was needed to support victims.

"When people got together and had a chance to discuss any shortcomings within the community, particularly when responding to victims and the different needs of the victims, it was recognized that this information wasn't necessarily readily available," he said. 

Once the needs have been identified, a step-by-step working plan can be put in place.

Problem is province wide 

"There's a misconception that people are being smuggled from other countries," said Poustie. 

"In reality, it's mostly young women from within our own community that are being forced into this. It's a province-wide issue that sees victims being transported from one jurisdiction to another. Often, they've been moved around so they don't even know where they are."

The Salvation Army is among the list of registered organizations.

Officials said in a release that the organization sees "first hand" hundreds of victims of human trafficking across the country, especially in London. 

Officials of the Vanier Children's Services said their organization is "committed to addressing the impacts of human trafficking on children, youth and their families," as well as "facilitating pathways to mental health services." 

Other agencies interested in registering with the portal can contact London police at civsu@police.london.ca.

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